"But the rule for reciprocation, which states that those who give first are entitled to receive in return,"  — Robert B. Cialdini (Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade)

We’ve all been there; time is running out and we really need to give some gifts to our team or clients. There are a lot of options but almost never not enough good ones.

We gave gift cards before, let’s do these again’, says the enthusiastic problem solver in the team.

There are lots of reasons and situations in which we give gifts for, understanding certain nuances can help you make the best decision on ROI of the decision and help you make the gifting activity more impactful.

As marketers and HR leaders, we often overlook the impact from the receiver’s side. In a survey, it was revealed that 57% of the receivers admitted to the fact that a gift impacted their opinion of the brand or gift giver.

While this may not seem a lot, imagine that you’re impacting the perception of 57% of your audience. Positively impressing a majority of your target audience with one activity is a very powerful tool.

Let’s understand both Gift Cards and Business Gifts as gifting options. I will try to take a stab at this never-ending debate, certainly not to settle it but at least to make your next choice more informative.

Gift Cards

Numerous industry-leading companies face a challenge when it comes to building customer loyalty. Once you have aced the task of boosting brand awareness, you can use gift cards as a part of your marketing strategy to keep customers engaged. Here’s why gift card is good gifting options :

Freedom to Spend

Unlike business gifts, gift cards for cash give consumers the feeling of having received money to spend. Some gift cards like the Amazon gift card can mean almost unlimited options to spend, it truly is total freedom for the user.

Defined Value Perception

A gift card comes with a defined value, so this can be both good or bad; in case of low budget, it’s best to avoid the gift card. The recipient knows exactly what she is getting so the perception leverage is well defined.

Compact & Convenient

A physical gift card is valuable and compact. It can even be delivered digitally, so this makes gift cards very convenient. In some cases this can mean quick delivery to the recipient.

Unique Ideas to Use Gift Cards :

Cross-promotional partnerships: Brands can tie up with retailers to do cross promotion and create a win-win. For example Subaru an automaker was the sponsor for Merrell a shoe brand’s Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle series. They partnered together to leverage dealership traffic by providing 100$ gift cards to customers who took a test-drive with Subaru. It was a win for Merrell that saw a growth in sales and revenue while Subaru benefitted from brand publicity.

Creating curated shopping experiences: By tying up with specialized gifting companies (like 5by7), brands can curate a product range that’s available online that users can select via a gift card. This is a great solution to both creating a brand experience yet giving the freedom to the recipients to choose from.

Business Gifts

Executives of leading companies still prefer to take the traditional route of giving business gifts to clients. 94% of top executives believe business gifts convey a story and instill a deeper connection with the brand. Gifts humanize relationships; a feeling that gift card vouchers lack. Here's why it is believed to be so:

Business Gifts

The Gift Experience

Chefs know people first taste with their eyes and then savor their food. Similarly, when it comes to giving branded business gifts a beautifully wrapped packaged gets the excitement going. The experience of unboxing a beautiful gift is part of the gift giving process, a feeling that gift cards cannot convey.

Mercedes Benz USA took customer gifting up a notch during the holiday season. Since the goal was to directly engage with current and potential customers, branded bears, Bluetooth speakers, and watches were neatly packed and sent over during the #MBSecretSanta program. They sent a clear message that customer relationships was a top priority and gained a band of loyalists.

Brand Recall

While business gifts should remind the customer that they are being thought of, instead of reminding them to think of you. However, still having an upper hand over gift cards, business gifts drive connectedness and a positive brand ROI when given correctly. Top executives, who have no time or desire to use gift cards often forget to use it. A quality well-thought business gift, on the other hand, along with a personalized handwritten note creates a lasting impression on recipients that matter.

Our Verdict

To summarise here’s an infographic that should help you navigate the tricky decision of the gift cards vs business gifts.

Gift Cards



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